Before the UN Security Council, Russia was accused on Tuesday of having caused a “world food crisis” or even of putting people at risk of “famine” by having started a war against Ukraine, the “breadbasket wheat of Europe”.
Russian President “Vladimir Putin started this war. He created this world food crisis. And he is the one who can stop it”, hammered the number two of American diplomacy Wendy Sherman during a meeting of the Security Council devoted to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine.
For the Deputy Secretary of State, “Russia and President Putin alone bear the responsibility for having waged war on Ukraine and for the consequences of this war on world food security”.
French Ambassador to the UN Nicolas de Rivière drove the point home: “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine increases the risk of famine throughout the world. The populations of developing countries are the first to be affected “.
And, said the French diplomat, “Russia will certainly try to make us believe that it is the sanctions adopted against it that are unbalancing global food security”.
– “Hysteria” of the West –
In fact, retorted his Russian counterpart Vassily Nebenzia, “the real reasons for the serious turbulence in world food markets are in no way due to the actions of Russia, but rather to the unchecked hysteria of the sanctions launched by the ‘West versus’ Moscow.
Yet, warned UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya, the conflict in Ukraine “threatens to make matters worse for the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, such as in Afghanistan, Yemen and in the Horn of Africa”.
“These countries are already struggling against food insecurity, the fragility of their economies, the increase in food, fuel and fertilizer prices which will severely affect the current and future seasons”, warned the Tanzanian.
The director of the World Food Program (WFP), David Beasley, and Wendy Sherman recalled that Ukraine and Russia were “major producers” of cereals, representing “30% of world wheat exports, 20% of world corn and 75% sunflower oil”.
Some “50% of the cereals we buy come from Ukraine and we fed 125 million people” before the war, underlined Mr. Beasley, warning of the “devastating” impact that the crisis will have on WFP operations.
On Friday, the Twenty-Seven of the European Union announced an initiative to alleviate food shortages caused by the war. The EU and the United States want a multilateral commitment against restrictions on the export of agricultural raw materials.
Grain shortages likely to cause food riots are feared in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh or Nigeria, highly populated countries, are the main importers of cereals from Russia and Ukraine.